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London Design Festival Highlights Part 2: Design Junction & Tent London

London Design Festival Highlights Part 2: Design Junction & Tent London

Last week I posted part one of my highlights from the recent London Design Festival which covered Decorex and 100% Design. And today is time for - you guessed it - part two!

Design Junction and Tent London are probably two of the trendiest and coolest of the exhibitions taking part in the London Design Festival. These are not purely trade shows and, although they're attended by buyers, interior designers and architects, they are also open to the general public and therefore do have a cooler, more vibrant edge.

Not only are there design installations, new products from independent designers and displays by small start-up businesses and interior designers, but there are also retail sections, great eateries and pop-up workshops. So as a visitor you can shop, eat, get inspired and see the latest in interiors, all in few hours.

I visited both Design Junction and Tent London on the same afternoon (after attending 100% Design in the morning!). They have very different atmospheres but I enjoyed both very much and here are my highlights - and loads of photos!


Design Junction has become known for being held in urban, industrial spaces. Over the last few years, its home has been at The Sorting Office on New Oxford Street which was a massive and very cool building.

This year though it took place over two venues. The College and part of Victoria House, both on Southampton Row. The College is the old home of the world-famous Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design.

Let me tell you it is a fabulous building! I just loved it - although I have to admit it was probably one of the most confusing exhibitions I've been to in terms of actually finding your way around! It's a bit of a labyrinth and I can't be at all sure that I actually covered the entirety of the show, but it just had so much charm and history - complete with paint spatter on the old wooden floor boards and everything.

And other than the building, the other main thing that stood out for me at this year's Design Junction was the exciting lighting installations within it. You'll see what I mean in a sec...

The College Building - home of Design Junction 2015

The College - which housed the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design from 1896 until 2011. Design Junction was as much about the building for me as it was about the products on display!

Blue plaque on The College Building

Dramatic lighting in The College for Design Junction

There are some dramatic and wonderful architectural features inside - highlighted by effective lighting by some of the exhibitors.

Architectural detail in The College building for Design Junction

Architectural detail - this time in colour...

Lighting installation at The College during Design Junction

This giant lighting installation by London-based design studio Luum was impressive. Suspended over five floors, these seemingly floating bubbles of light just seemed to go on forever.

Fluffy cloud pendant lights by Arturo Alvarez at Design Junction

These floating clouds by Spanish lighting designer Arturo Alvarez were so sweet aren't they? They'd look great in a commercial space or even in a really quirky dining or living room.

Pendant Light by Ango at Design Junction

This ceiling light by Thai lighting brand Ango is made from rattan - it was part of a series of floating discs of various sizes and looked very effective, especially as the space they were in was a little dark.

Mineral pendant lights by Rothschild & Bickers at Design Junction

This installation by British lighting brand Rothschild & Bickers highlights their new mineral collection. They look like real minerals don't they? Like spheres of malachite and agate? But they're actually made from glass...clever and super effective.

Do you see what I mean by the lighting displays being excellent? I hope you enjoyed seeing some of these wonderful designs. I've added links to the pictures so if you'd like to see more from the lighting brands above, please just click through.

Other than lighting, there were a few other displays that caught my eye and which I had to add to my highlights.

Works by Archie Proudfoot at Design Junction

These hand painted graphics by London-based sign painter and gold leaf artist Archie Proudfoot were great fun. He's helping to revive a dying craft with his hand painted signs and says he wanted to make some of his art more easily accessible for use in a home or commercial space. He can work to commission to completely personalise the work.

A loom by textile brand Wallace & Sewell at Design Junction

I really enjoyed seeing this loom at work as part of the Wallace & Sewell stand. This UK design duo produce the most luxurious and gorgeous cushions, throws, blankets and scarves. They create their designs using this loom and then produce their collections in a family run mill. They take great pride in producing their textiles in the UK. Lovely!

A loom by Wallace & Sewell at work at Design Junction

A closeup of the loom at work - it looks complex doesn't it? it really gives us a better understanding of the sheer amount of work and skill that goes into designing and producing such a lovely collection.



Although Tent London is actually marketed as two shows, Tent London and Superbrands, it is basically one exhibition. It takes place at The Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch where Superbrands is on the ground floor and Tent London on the first.

What stood out for me here was the international presence and particularly the pavilions highlighting brands and crafts from Japan and Korea. I noticed a lot of texture, colour and repetition in the displays with a big emphasis on craft from various countries (which of course I love!).

Bella Maisa table by Yask at Tent London

This table called 'Bella Maisa' by Swiss design house Yask measured over 13 metres long, could seat 50 people, weighed over 1000 kg and was made in one length using timber that is over 150 years old! It was seriously impressive.

Detail of the Bella Maisa table by Yask at Tent London

The table was held together with this giant butterfly joints.

Cracked mirror flooring in the South Italy pavillion at Tent London

I mentioned texture before and here is one example. The South Italy pavilion had a walkway made entirely of cracked mirror. Not the most practical perhaps, but very effective.

Wallpaper flooring in the Australian pavillion at Tent London

Another example of texture, this time in the Australian pavilion where they had covered the entire floor in this dry cracked earth effect. From the joint you can see there, I think it was actually some sort of vinyl covering. Might be a fun idea for a cafe or laid-back communal space in an office...

Paper panel display in the Korean pavilion at Tent London

Here come a few examples of the repetition I mentioned above. This effective paper display was in the Korean pavilion. I thought it was so simple but because of the textured paper they have used and the variety in scale, the display is very striking - nice for a window display or partition wall.

Korean chess set in the Korean pavilion at Tent London

What looked like Korean chess pieces were lined up like an army (there were loads of them!).

Lacquered bowls on display at Tent London

A series of lacquered bowl in every size you could possibly ever need displayed in this gigantic table and...

Stackable bowls at Tent London

...when you're done with them, they all fit into one another with a lid that covers the lot. Simple really.

A lacquered bowl in a branch in the Korean pavilion at Tent London

I liked the contrast between the lacquer between the bowl and the burnished bark of the stand. This was also in the Korean pavilion.

Japanese glasses at Tent London

These lovely glasses have been hand decorated by Japanese artisans who are part of Suruga - an association of craftspeople who craft all the elements required to serve and drink tea in traditional style. the disciplines include glassware, pottery, working with bamboo, lacquering, enameling and producing textiles. It's a lovely idea and their website tells their story beautifully (click on the image for more).

These were my highlights from Tent London and Design Junction. If you have the chance to visit next year, then I would definitely encourage you to put on your walking shoes and visit, not only these two exhibitions, but some of the other design districts and events that are part of the London Design Festival.

'till next time...

All photos by Nicole Antar, many via Instagram //Exhibition logos from their websites


Oct 30, 2016

I know Robyn they’re great aren’t they?! I was so tempted to reach out and feel them!:)

Nicole Antar
Oct 30, 2016

Oooo! The floating clouds please! LOVE THOSE! How dreamy it would be to hang them over my bed and fall asleep watching the clouds dance and move in the air above me!

Oct 30, 2016

Thank you that’s very kind Paola!

Nicole Antar
Oct 30, 2016

Those look great, your pictures are very very beautiful!

Oct 30, 2016

Thank you Jay. Yes the table was impressive!

Nicole Antar
Oct 30, 2016

Wow, lots of great stuff to see! That table really is something to behold.

Oct 30, 2016

Thank you Verushka. Yes I know what you mean about The Sorting Office. It sort of feels like it’s coming undone at the seams a bit doesn’t it? But it’s got character.

Nicole Antar
Oct 30, 2016

Beautiful images.I love the beautiful historic buildings in London.Visited the Sorting office last Octobet for thr Lenovo Product launch was rather surprised by the building x

Oct 30, 2016

Thank you Gilly. The building was very special and part of what I enjoyed so much about this show. It had soul. If you are not an interior designer or a buyer, then shows like Design Junction, Tent or the ones that take place in Clerkenwell are great to attend. They are very creative and a fun day out and about. Oh and I remember those buses too!!

Nicole Antar
Oct 30, 2016

Loved this post, along with part one. I like the way the building itself has been brought into the article – I would love to go to the next event there even though I am not an interior designer. I really love the loom pictures and the cracked earth flooring. Oh, and the London bus which sadly, I remember travelling on!!!!

Gilly Maddison

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